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|Current CEO||Matt Harris|
|Number of Members||Approximately 1,000,000|
|Trees Distributed to Members||Approximately 7,000,000 per year|
|Trees Planted in America's Forests||Approximately 5,000,000 per year|
|Number of Tree City USA's||3,409|
|Number of Tree Campuses||237|
|Number of Certified Nature Explore Classrooms||217|
The Arbor Day Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and education organization founded in 1972 in Nebraska, United States, by John Rosenow. It is the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to tree planting. The Foundation's stated corporate mission is "to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees." The Foundation programs are supported by members, donors, and corporate sponsors that share the same vision of a healthier and greener world.
In 1872, J. Sterling Morton started what would become Arbor Day in Nebraska City, Nebraska. This "holiday" is meant to recognize and support the planting of trees. Morton and his wife Caroline challenged people around the country to plant trees. In 1872, on the first Arbor Day, approximately one million trees were planted in Nebraska alone. Sterling and Caroline Morton lived in Nebraska City on a 72-acre estate, which is now known as Arbor Lodge State Historical Park and Arboretum.
In Nebraska City, Nebraska, the home of Arbor Day, the Arbor Day Foundation built the Lied Lodge and Conference Center, which houses a full service meeting center and 140 guest rooms" for conservation-minded organizations, members, forestry professionals, or other individuals that value the environmental operating practices offered by the facility. The property is also home to Arbor Day Farm, a National Historic Landmark and an educational visitor attraction; Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure, including the Lied Greenhouse, Woodland Pavilion, the Tree House Trail, Canopy Tree House, Nature Explore Classrooms, Exploratory Trail, Nature Explore Club Cabin, and the Tree Adventure Discovery Ride. In 2014, the Arbor Day Foundation took over management of Arbor Lodge State Historical Park and Arboretum from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
The Tree City USA program, which is co-sponsored by the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service, has grown to include more than 3,400 towns, cities, and military bases in all 50 states. This program nationally recognizes cities and towns for urban and community forestry and helps provide assistance and public attention to showcase the importance of urban forestry.
The foundation encourages communities across the nation to become Tree City USA by meeting four standards:
The million members of the Arbor Day Foundation share the same vision to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. The trees planted by the members at their homes, businesses, and ranches provide cleaner air and water, shade, increased stormwater management, energy savings, soil protection, and habitat for wildlife.
Members are invited to receive 10 free trees through the Trees for America program. Between six and seven million trees are sent to members each year that help improve their communities and environment.
Another aspect of the Trees for America program is the Community Tree Recovery program, which brings hope and healing to communities in need by providing trees to replant after natural disasters.
Through partnerships with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, Foundation corporate sponsors and members have planted more than 45 million trees in America's National Forests to help restore vitality and life to the forest land after devastation to the forests caused by insects, disease, and wildfires. Forests provide more than beauty to the nation, they provide drinking water to 180 million people, stop erosion around streams and lakes, and assist rain and snowmelt to soak into the soil. Trees also help mitigate climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide and replacing it with oxygen. The replanted forests provide a home to wolves, bald eagles, grizzly bears, and other endangered species.
An example of a forest replanting is the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, the largest national forest in California with two million acres. The summer of 2008 marked the worst fire season in the history of the forest and burned thousands of acres. Through the Replanting Our National Forest program, the Arbor Day Foundation with their partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, has planted more than one million trees to bring life back to the forest and ensure that it continues to thrive.
Daily interactions with the natural world is a big benefit for children. The Arbor Day Foundation's Nature Explore program allows children to make deeper connections with the natural world.
Through a collaboration with Dimensions Educational Research Foundation, the Arbor Day Foundation is taking on the challenge of teaching the importance of nature to children and exposing them to the outdoors through their Nature Explore Classrooms. These research-based opportunities for learning are taught to school administrators, landscape architects, and families and give educators an opportunity to build and certify a Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom using safe, durable, natural components. Outdoor classrooms allow children to learn and play outside while they experience the wonder of nature. There are art stations with pine cones and acorns, allowing children to create their own masterpieces. Logs allow a natural climb and crawl experience. Above-ground gardens allow the children to plant flowers and vegetables and watch them grow. In this nature-based environment, children are allowed to play together, pretending, creating, and learning to care for the space that was built just for them. These nature-rich environments help kids connect to nature, inspiring the next generation of tree planters.
237 colleges and universities are recognized as Tree Campus USA's. Tree Campus USA recognition is obtained by having a program in place that manages the campus tree inventory along with tree care and maintenance. Managed trees provide beauty to the campus along with a place for students to study, relax, and socialize. Students that have an opportunity to connect with trees and the environment when they are young will carry this on through their lifetime.
The Arbor Day Foundation's Rain Forest Rescue program saves thousands of acres of tropical rain forest each year with contributions from our generous members and sponsors. This tropical land is crucial to our survival and is home to many of the rarest animals on earth and plants that hold medicinal value and cures. Working with eight different countries and 59 different projects, preservation, tree-planting, and recovery is under way with on-location partners.
Shade-grown Arbor Day Specialty Coffee is another part of the Rain Forest Rescue program. The rain forests are not only home to many animals, they are home to millions of people. Through the Arbor Day Specialty Coffee program, the Foundation helps these people and farmers save and preserve the rain forest using sustainable agroforestry that includes production of coffee beans. Farmers grow coffee plants in the rain forest under the trees, offering a superior coffee bean and saving the rain forest from unwanted destruction. The Foundation offers education and economic incentives for rain forest restoration and preservation.
Land conservation practices help conserve soil, water, wildlife, and the atmosphere. Through the Conservation Trees program, the Foundation works with ranchers, farmers, and landowners through communication and education encouraging environmental stewardship.
Trees planted for conservation are “working trees.” They provide many benefits in communities and rural areas. Other than reducing soil erosion, cleaning waterways and air, trees cut energy costs and sequester carbon dioxide. They provide beauty to our land all the while providing food for wildlife and people.
Strategically planting trees in a homeowner's yard lowers utility bills, conserves energy, and lowers peak electricity demand. The Foundation's Energy-Saving Trees program works with utility partners to plant trees in residential areas. An on-line tools allows the homeowner to choose a tree for their yard, plot the tree in their yard using satellite imagery to calculate the energy savings over time. This unique program allows Foundation partners and members to save energy through tree planting.